“If you lend money to my people, to the poor among you, you shall not deal with them as a creditor; you shall not exact interest from them. 26If you take your neighbor’s cloak in pawn, you shall restore it before the sun goes down; 27for it may be your neighbor’s only clothing to use as cover; in what else shall that person sleep? And if your neighbour cries out to me, I will listen, for I am compassionate. - Exodus 22:25–27
Two stories from two neighbors with happy endings, thanks to St. Luke’s support…
Bridging from a shelter to a home…
by Erin Lungwitz
“As a single parent, you try to provide as much for your child as you can and make them feel comfortable and make it feel like a home.”
After leaving an abusive relationship in early 2020, Deanna* spent a month in a shelter with her eight-year-old son. She left her home quickly and was not able to bring much with her. She’s been in a furnished home for a year, which has improved her quality time with her son and with her own mother.
“You know, things happen in life that we can’t predict. This really helps mothers like me, families like me, have one less stressor off their shoulders and feel like a mother.”
Deanna highlighted that Bridging helped her provide for her child and create a secure and comfortable environment for him to grow. She especially enjoys watching her son relish his own space. He has a go-to recliner that he plops down in after school – Deanna emphasized, “that’s his seat,”- and a bright red table where he does all of his artwork. And now, when her mother visits, she has somewhere to sit.
The comfort Deanna gained with a furnished space is twofold – both physical and mental. Having a soft bed to sleep on and other furnishings provides physical comfort, but it goes beyond that, it relieves several stressors, allows her to feel proud.
“For me and my son, going from sleeping on an air mattress– to all of a sudden having our own separate beds, from eating on the floor to sitting at a kitchen table – it’s a complete change.”
Thank you Bridging
Exodus Lending leads to a more promised future…
by Kaitlyn Szabo
Reese*, a mother of two, first took out a payday loan to stay on top of her bills while waiting for her first paycheck from her new job. At the time, Reese felt that her credit wasn’t high enough to qualify for a traditional personal loan and believed taking out a payday loan was her only option to support her family.
Unfortunately, the “short-term” loan quickly spiraled into a debt trap. Reese couldn’t afford to pay the entire principal and interest of her loan in one payment. “I went back and forth in my head… I really can’t afford to take the whole paycheck and pay this back. Will I be able to do all the payments?”
Ultimately, she had to pay a fee to renew her loan for another few weeks. And eventually, Reese became trapped in a costly renewal cycle in which none of her payments went towards her principal.
“[The lenders] had it where I was able to come in and make the payment, and they’d pull it back out. They didn’t say that it restarts everything all over. And that’s where the issue was… I couldn’t afford to pay and just leave it, I had to pull it back out.”
Reese remained in the payday loan debt trap for months. Then, while reading a newsletter from Interfaith Outreach, she learned about Exodus Lending. After researching and speaking with her social worker, Reese join our program, and finally break the cycle of predatory debt.
With payday loan debt behind her, Reese now has the financial flexibility to build up her savings and begin the process of becoming a homeowner. She also shares Exodus Lending as a resource in her community and even helped her sister enroll.
“Right now, I’m in the process of building everything back up. My ultimate goal is to own my own home. Now, I’m more conscious with the stuff that I do, because I have that goal in my head: a home for my kids.”
Thank you Exodus Lending
*We have changed the participant’s name because of confidentiality.